Insights Flash: Consumer Edge data shows gas savings may benefit restaurants

Amid reports of softening gas prices leading up to summer, we leverage Consumer Edge U.S. transaction data to examine spending at the pump and how lower prices could benefit discretionary industries. 

The portion of consumer spending allocated toward filling up gas tanks tends to follow a seasonal pattern, peaking in the summer travel months. U.S. cardholders are allocating a smaller percentage of spend on gas heading into summer this year (3.4%) compared to both 2023 (3.6%) and 2022 (4.0%). Regionally, the Midwest and Northeast are experiencing the most notable step-down year over year, while the South is seeing a milder decline and the West is remaining steady.

Unveiling Consumer Trends: Which Brands Thrive as Gas Prices Decline?

While recent gas price declines may boost retail sales overall, we leverage CE data to uncover which brands could stand to benefit the most from consumers having additional funds in their wallets to allocate to discretionary purchases. Taking a look at the regions where drivers spend the most money at gas stations over the last two years can help us uncover trends in consumer spend.

The chart below reveals the preferred brands among consumers who spend at the top 10 gas station brands in our dataset. We see restaurants make up the majority of the list, placing a total of 8 players on the top 10 with the highest spend versus panel average. Cookout and Waffle House claim the top spots.

Notably, all of the restaurants fall into the Quick Service and Casual Dining categories. As these restaurant chains are concentrated primarily in the South and rural areas, they are primed to experience a bump. These customers drive more frequently than those living in larger cities, thus, restaurants in these regions could benefit the most from lower gas prices. Additionally, two automotive service brands also cracked the list, suggesting drivers could allocate spend towards their cars in other ways.

Consumer Edge is the leading provider of alternative data for consumer spending behavior, and the only provider of global revenue signals. If you’d like to benefit from using Vision Pro or other products for Limited-Service Restaurants, retail analysis, and other industry data year-round to track trends and insights like these, reach out to

About the Authors

Michael Gunther is the VP Head of Insights for the CEIC. Explore more of his insights here and follow him on LinkedIn.

Nick Rushé is an Insights Analyst for the CEIC. Follow him on LinkedIn.